Resident Evil: Code Veronica X Xbox 360 Review

I took a while with this review because basically, Code Veronica X is bloody hard and confusing. Minimal handholding, danger around most corners, scant ammo, almost intolerable voice acting. Yep! Despite the moving camera and proper 3D (rather than rendered) backdrops, this is classic Resident Evil through and through. Same fiddly controls, same finicky item management, same utter panic as you realise you’ve wasted all your ammo on shooting crows when a blooming great big hunter’s leaping at you. It’s like the year 2000 all over again, all New Labour and Millennium buggers. All told, it’s pretty bloody great.

It’s depressing to say this as someone who remembers when it came out, but Code Veronica X really does seem like something from a different era. Apart from hauntingly reminding me of my own mortality, this is a swell thing. It was quite nice to actually have the little grey cells (and believe me, they’re very little) tested again by a game. It took me back, as I wondered where the heck I should go next, and it was also bittersweet to play something that reminded me of happier times. Nostalgia’s a wonderful and awful thing.

You’ve probably played it before but if not, here’s some background. Claire Redfield, the fashionably questionable heroine of Resident Evil 2, has got herself locked up on Rockfort Island after infiltrating an Umbrella base somewhere else. She’s escorted to the Island and thrown in the pokey, but is then released by a guard who indicates the whole Island has gone to hell. Can you guess what’s coming next? Yep, as soon as she walks out the door, she’s accosted by a load of peckish, naked zombies, and wouldn’t you know, some of them are on fire. What a bugger eh?

But no matter, Redfield’s dealt with the undead before, and in a manner of minutes she’s in the clear, but oh no! Someone’s firing at her? Quick Claire, duck! Oh phew, he’s realised you are not a threat. Let’s take a closer look at this chap. It’s not a zombie it’s…

Oh no.

It’s Steve.

When you can stake a claim to being the worst-acted character in the entire Resident Evil series, you know you’ve struck some kind of fool’s gold. This is a series that has seen the likes of the mighty Barry Burton, gun shop owner Kendo, and even the ultimate pantomime villain himself, Albert Wesker. Steve makes them all seem like they’re acted by Ian McKellen. A harrowing bastardisation of Sid Vicious, John Connor and Spyro the Dragon, the little bugger nasally whines around the island, thinks he’s the nuts and takes the piss out of Claire (and what 17 year old lad would take the piss out of lovely Claire? A moron that’s who).

Naturally stuff happens, and they’re forced together to stop a bio-terror threat, because bio-terror threats happen every Tuesday in the world of Resident Evil. Popular characters also crop up, and ludicrously dressed villains (that are still nothing on Resident Evil 4’s wonderful Salazar) raise the camp stakes tenfold.

I’ve probably made it abundantly clear, but I’ve a great affection for this game and the era it was made. Its brand of horror seems clunky and ineffective now, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had from exploring Rockfort Island and the lavish, preposterous buildings therein. It’s also wonderfully silly. As with Resident Evil 4, it represents a time when the Resident Evil franchise was at least a little bit knowing and deliberately camp. It’s a bit sad to see just how much the sly winks and cartoonish high-jinx were replaced by tree-trunk arms and straight faces in Resident Evil 5. Again, not bashing Resident Evil 5, but despite sharing characters it’s like it’s not even in the same universe, let alone series. Somewhere along the line the series changed from Peter Jackson’s Braindead to Black Infected Hawk Down. Oh well.

Code Veronica X undeniably looks like a ten year old game, but Capcom have actually done a pretty good job of sprucing it up a bit. They’ve even added new lighting and water effects. There’s a grainy overlay that works in the game’s favour, making it seem like you’re playing it on VHS (and as any film connoisseur will tell you, VHS is the natural home of the zombie film). I’ll confess I saw other reviews complaining about the HD update, and wondered what they were moaning about. It was never going to be a complete remake like 2002s terrifying redux of the original, and the new lighting effects actually add a lot to the look of the game to my aged, probably broken eyes.

So yes. Code Veronica X still does the job. For fifteen pounds though? Hmmm. Unsure. If you’re loopy about all things Resident Evil and have some xbox points sitting about then knock yourself out. But when superior sibling Resident Evil 4 and console Crysis are the same price, you do wonder if they’re maybe taking the mickey a bit. Heck, Beyond Good and Evil was released after Code Veronica and was still only priced at 800 points. You can’t help but think the company missed a trick here. A 1200 point price point would have been more reasonable perhaps.

Oh well. If you do have a hankering for an old school exercise in creaky door survival horror on your spangly HD console, you could do a heck of a lot worse. Isn’t that right Za… shut up.



7 out of 10
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